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Facebook Ads In A Post iOS14 World—Are They Worth It?

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Facebook Ads have proven to be effective for businesses of all sizes. But a recent privacy upgrade on Apple devices may be putting those campaigns at risk. 

Many mobile devices and web browsers are now revising their policies to prevent users from being tracked across devices or pages unless they opt-in first.

For businesses advertising on Facebook, these updates mean less user information that can be used to build strong marketing campaigns. 

Are you worried about the future of Facebook Ads for your business? 

Keep reading this blog to learn more about what’s happening with the iOS14 update and some ways you can continue getting results from your ads.

What is iOS14?

If you are one of the 1.65 billion people using an Apple device, then you’ve already seen the results of the iOS14 update. 

Apple announced the update in 2021 as a way to improve the user experience.

But, it also included “new privacy features [to] improve user transparency and control over how apps access your location, photos, microphone, and camera.”

It sounds reasonable and most users appreciate an option for privacy, yet it’s devastating for Facebook advertisers. 

How so?

When using apps like Facebook on an Apple Device, users get the following pop-up message. 

Image of facebook pop up message

Users have the option of choosing whether Facebook can track their activity. This was part of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT).

While users had previously opted-in automatically, they can now choose whether to allow it. 

As expected, hardly any Apple user agreed to have their activity tracked across multiple apps or the web. Only an estimated 2% opted-in in the beginning.

That amount has grown to nearly 10% but it’s still much smaller than in the past, and the change has had a huge impact.

Facebook advertisers reported a 15-20% drop in revenue only four months after the update.

The damage has been slowly reversing this year as Facebook, digital marketers, and other social media apps are finding ways to work around it. 

Do Facebook Ads Still Work on iOS14?

One of the first questions most businesses will ask is whether they should keep investing in Facebook Ads? Are they even going to work anymore?

The simple answer is yes. 

Facebook Ads can still reach potential customers but many marketers will need to change how they do things. 

For one, the 28-day attribution window was removed. This allowed marketers to see what actions someone took over the 28 days before they converted.

While the 7-day attribution remains, the 7-day view-through attribution will no longer be available. 

Image showing Facebook Ad 7-day view-through attribution will no longer be available.

There have also been delays and inconsistencies in reporting conversion rates and campaign budget optimization. Retargeting is still possible but it can only be with smaller audiences. 

Owned data is now the name of the game with Facebook Ads. Marketers can no longer rely on what information is collected by the app. 

Keep reading to learn what strategies can help you stabilize your campaigns.

Tips On Surviving iOS14

The Apple update is not a Facebook Ads death sentence. Marketers will need to collect and use more 1st Party Data in their campaigns. 

1st Party Data is specific information you get directly from customers. The beauty of it is that your customers are already opting-in by sending it to you. And it’s much more reliable than the data you track. 

Here are some things your business can do to survive iOS14 by tapping into owned data.

Use Facebook Lead Ad Forms

Both Facebook and Instagram offer businesses the option of running lead ads. 

All you need is an Instant Form asking users for their names, email addresses, phone numbers, or custom questions related to your products or services.

Sample Lead Ad Form

There are a ton of ways to use Facebook lead ads:

  • Find new customers
  • Collect email addresses for an e-newsletter
  • Encourage downloads of white papers or how-to guides
  • Learn more about your potential customers
  • Get people to sign-up for a training or upcoming event

You’ll start collecting valuable 1st Party Data in no time. Then, you can start using it for remarketing campaigns. 

How To Remarket With 1st Party Data

Has your business already been collecting 1st Party Data for years? If so, you’re one step ahead of many others using Facebook Ads after iOS14

The good news is it’s not too late to start using lead ads to get more personalized data from your target audience. 

Once you’ve used Facebook Ads to collect a healthy amount of new data, the next step will be using it to remarket potential customers.

As you learned above, Facebook’s pixel is not as reliable as it once was thanks to iOS14. 

What you can do instead is upload the new customer list you created into the Ads Manager. From that point, you can target the list directly.

Image showing where to add custom audience in FB Ads

You can also attempt remarketing to a Lookalike Audience but keep in mind it may not be as accurate anymore. 

The most important thing is to keep your new customer list updated so it doesn’t skew your results. 

Use Energetic Ad Images & Copy

Now that you’re focusing on the data you already own and in smaller audience sizes, you need to ensure that the advertisements you create are dynamite. 

Here’s an example of an amazing ad from Lego:

Image showing Lego Sponsored Facebook Ad

A major benefit of writing ads for owned data is that you already know what your audience wants. You communicate with them regularly and, hopefully, you segment your customer list by interests or behaviors. 

This means your ads will be highly personalized versus an ad you would make for a broad audience of half a million people. 

Make sure you select high-resolution images for your ads that are engaging and interesting. 

You’ll want to hire the right copywriter who can represent your brand. If not, you can do it yourself if you follow these tips for good copywriting:

  • Find a unique angle to grab a user’s attention
  • Learn the customer’s pain points and craft your copy around it
  • Make your writing clear and concise
  • Get your potential customers excited

Facebook also offers free online guides on mastering its advertising platform. 

Several different marketing goals and ad formats are available to use. 

There are also limits on the amount of copy you can upload, which will be easy to avoid if you keep your copywriting clear and concise. 

Next, you’ll select your audience (which is your customer list) and a budget. Finding the perfect budget may be a trial and error process now after iOS14. 

Verify Your Domain & Set Eight Conversion Events

Facebook is recommending that businesses verify their domains. So, what does this mean exactly?

By doing this you’re telling Facebook which of your Business Managers has the authority to configure and prioritize conversion events. 

It’s considered a best practice because you only have one person adjusting your settings, which is especially important if multiple accounts are logged into yours. 

All you have to do is click on Business Settings > Brand Safety > Domains and start to add one if nothing is there. Then, verify it!

image showing Facebook Ads meta-tag verification

Facebook’s Aggregated Event Measurement, which limits domains to only eight conversion events, can now be used to measure web events. 

You’ll want to pick the eight events that work best for your business. They can also be ranked for prioritization. If, for example, a customer activates multiple events while on your site, only the event with the highest priority will be reported. 

No longer will marketers have the ability to create custom events at the last minute. 

Learn how to verify your domain here

Use Google Analytics To Verify Data

Your website’s Google Analytics can help you to avoid being negatively affected by iOS14. Google Analytics tracks on a last-click model and while it’s cookie-based, you can use it for perspective.

One thing you can try is to compare your historical Facebook campaign data against what you’re seeing in Google Analytics. 

Image showing Google Analytics Report

We don’t know yet if that historical campaign data will remain on Facebook, but for now, it can help you figure out how much is being underreported. It would be smart to download that data now before it potentially disappears. 

Another strategy is to look at your Google Analytics Device Reports to see how your traffic was in the past versus today under iOS14. 

Even more interestingly, Google Analytics 4 uses machine learning to correlate data between cross-browser and cross-device attribution. 

Is Facebook Ads Still Worth It? [The Final Verdict]

We covered a lot of ground in this blog and touched on complex technical settings. Some of them you may be hearing about for the first time.

Now, you’re probably wondering, are Facebook Ads worth it?

We think it is. And we believe this enough to give the same advice to our clients. 

There are nearly three billion people on Facebook, which still makes it one of the best places to market your products or services. The key to overcoming iOS14 is changing up the way you collect data and use it to build ads. 

Do you need help switching up your Facebook advertising strategy? Our PPC team works with clients on both Google Ads and Facebook Ads. We can help!

Schedule a consultation with one of our paid advertising experts to get started.

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